Just Salad isn't just about salad.

Take, for instance, its Warm Rustic Grain Bowl, a hearty, healthy concoction that's recently been added to the menu that's light on the leafy greens.

"Sometimes you're not in the mood for all of the greens," says Just Salad Chef Laura Pensiero. "We wanted to give something with less lettuce and hearty for the winter that's high nutrition, warm and incorporating a lot of good flavors."

The end result is a quinoa-lentil-wheatberry blend, along with walnuts, roast cauliflower, broccoli coins, carrots, roasted tomatoes, shaved Parmesan and just a pinch of arugula, all mixed with a kale pesto dressing.

A version of this salad was a big hit last winter, as health-conscious New Yorkers are increasingly incorporating whole grains into their diets.

"People are eating carbs again, they just want healthy carbs," says Pensiero, who is a registered dietitian. "Certainly grains fit the bill -- they give that good type of fiber that satiates you ... and soluable fiber that helps maintain good blood sugar levels and aids in heart disease prevention."

The recipe calls for roasted tomatoes and roasted cauliflower, which, if you want to save some time in the kitchen, Pensiero recommends buying in a grocery store.

You could also buy a mixed-grain blend instead of cooking the different grains separately, she says.

For those who abide, the dish can also be made completely vegan by omitting the Parmesan.

Just Salad is big on flexibility, with customers able to customize even the chef-designed salads, though Pensiero recommends this one as is.

"If you eat as designed, it's a nicely-balanced salad," says the chef.

 

Warm Rustic Grain Bowl

Makes 1 serving1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1/4 cup cooked lentils

1/4 cup cooked wheat berries

1 1/2 cups loosely packed arugula

3/4 cup roasted cauliflower

1/3 cup roasted tomatoes

1/2 cup steamed broccoli coins

3 oz. carrots

1/4 cup shaved Parmesan

2 tbsp. Kale Pesto Dressing (see recipe)

 

Combine all ingredients. Chop and mix in a bowl until ingredients and dressing are distributed evenly.

 

Kale Pesto Dressing

Makes approximately 2 cups

2 cups blanched kale leaves

2 loosely packed cups raw kale leaves

2 garlic cloves

3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup water

2 tbsp. reduced-fat mayonnaise

2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 1/4 cups light olive oil or olive oil blend

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to season

 

Combine the kale (cooked and raw), garlic, lemon juice and water in a blender or the work bowl of a food processor, and pulse until blended. Add the mayonnaise and mustard and blend again. With motor running, slowly add the oil in a steady stream. Add a little more water, if necessary, to thin. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

 

Optional: Add toasted pine nut and Parmesan (1/4 cup of each).